If I’m going to tell the truth about the whole ordeal, and I do try my best to adhere to that moral code, the cat was Todd’s idea. At least, that’s what Deidre says, and she has no reason to lie about it, unless you’re going to throw the theory of “plausible deniability” in my face, and then well, maybe you’ve got a point. But let’s just say for argument’s sake that the cat was Todd’s idea. Then that would make him responsible for one of the greatest epidemics to hit the tri-county area since the Southern Baptist WMU fellowship dinner poisoning back in ’93. But if we’re going to be thorough with this tale, then the real story begins with the passing of Mack.
Mack was the greatest feline to ever stroll the soil of South Georgia. An old tabby with no pedigree or papers except for those lining his litter box, Mack was of the aristocratic line that came from generations of gentle breeding in hay lofts against a backdrop of cotton fields and tobacco barns. He had a warrior’s heart that displayed gallantry and valor as he often presented his enfeebled family, clearly unskilled in the ways of hunting, with a newly deceased prize on the doorstep, which Deidre would often find just as she was stepping out the front door for school. He was savvy in the ways of etiquette, and when the family was home, he’d meow every five minutes by the door with ever a patient timbre and save them extra clean-up by using the backyard as his lavatory. He was forbearing with the children and loved by all, but he was loved by Todd most of all. And when this feline gentleman saw fit to depart the earth for future glory, he received a soldier’s burial in the backyard with the appropriate tribute paid during the memorial service.
So you can imagine the gaping hole Mack’s absence made in the lives of my friends. You can envision their desolation as days rolled by with no one to champion their cause or to deposit decapitated rodents on their doorstep. You can hear the wails as they suddenly came upon a catnip mouse tucked under the sofa from a vigorous swat just weeks ago. You can understand when Todd, enveloped in his grief, made a misstep that would haunt them all: Todd brought home a new cat.
Miss Claws was a Christmas present and meant for Mary Todd as the letter from Santa clearly stipulated. She was nothing like Mack, out of respect for the dearly departed, and in many ways, Deidre wondered if they had been given a cat at all since Miss Claws was of a particular variety called a midget cat, whose appendages were far outpaced by her body and head. But she was only 6 weeks old and three clicks past adorable, so any physical limitations that she experienced in being able to scale the litter box walls or eat like a normal feline were overlooked out of deference for tolerance and the universal cute factor of baby mammals. Miss Claws was accepted into the tribe with the mandatory number of ooh’s and ahh’s and an obligatory nuzzle right up against the left cheek.
Relatives came over for Christmas, and Deidre welcomed both her parents and her brother’s family into her home. They admired the new member of the family and then reported on the State of the Presents as they were received. Deidre’s mom related a narrow escape since her son had almost purchased a sandbox for his 4-year-old son.
“Can you imagine?” she said in a tone of voice reserved for the true horrors of the world, such as plague, famine, and hair color straight out of a box. “They almost gave him one of the nastiest things on earth. Those boxes are just infested with germs and bacteria, and every cat in the neighborhood uses them as a litter box. I’ve even heard,” and here her voice dropped an octave, “that you can get ringworm from playing in them.” The way she said it placed ringworm in the same category with other STD’s and diseases in need of penicillin. Thank God they had sidestepped that landmine.
So the day with all its festivities wrapped up beautifully, and Miss Claws became an official part of the clan. If only they had read the fine print on those kennel papers before taking her into the family bosom.
© 2012 – Traci Carver